A Zim­bab­wean In­tro­spec­tive


I may well be re­veal­ing a mildly off-putting per­son­al­ity quirk in telling you this, but I have run­ning men­tal lists of the best things I have done, seen, eaten, read, etc. From pizza to pub­lic re­strooms, I can give a run­ning order of my top ex­pe­ri­ences of the cat­e­gory in ques­tion. I share this (per­haps char­ac­ter-be­tray­ing) piece of trivia be­cause be­fore I had even set foot in Zim­babwe, I had crowned a new win­ner in the Best Short Plane Jour­ney cat­e­gory. I have never seen a sky so empty of clouds, and an un­der-wing ex­panse so sprawl­ing as the view I had from my win­dow on the hour-long flight from Jo­han­nes­burg to Harare. Touch­ing down, I felt the thoughts that had so wor­ried me the night be­fore sim­ply evap­o­rate in the dry heat. Know­ing that I was one small point in such a vast vista brought with it a sense of tran­quil­ity. About fif­teen hours prior, I lay awake, hav­ing had an in­tense phone call with my part­ner about this ad­ven­ture. As some­one in a same-sex re­la­tion­ship, my trip to Zim­babwe posed per­sonal, moral and po­lit­i­cal prob­lems that de­sired rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. Same-sex ac­tiv­ity is out­lawed in Zim­babwe. Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe reg­u­larly launches ver­bose at­tacks to­wards the LGBT com­mu­nity. By trav­el­ing here, I would be tac­itly con­tribut­ing to a coun­try where the law does not re­spect a part of who I am; and where many like me, live lives of mis­ery and dan­ger. Could I jus­tify trav­el­ing to such a place? An in­quis­i­tive mind (and a non­re­fund­able air­fare) al­lowed me to pro­ceed on this once-in-a-lifetime jour­ney with my brother.

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